PHILADELPHIA -- It's a lot more fun when the Flyers fail to show up for the first period and then dominate the rest of the game. It was the exact opposite tonight. They lost the game because of it. They lost really badly, too, 4-1.
After a first period in which they carried a 1-0 lead and were dominant on the forecheck, the Devils came out like a completely different team in the second. They were the team with the aggressive forecheck. They were the team with all the energy. They were the team that left the Flyers flat-footed. They probably were the team with the tight defense and good goaltending, too, but we would have needed them to put a puck or two on net to figure that out.
What makes this even worse? Game 3 doesn't start for about 45 more hours, and the team is going to Northern New Jersey in the meantime. Do you know how much the air quality sucks up there? We'll be lucky if the Flyers can breathe. That's the home-ice advantage that's really being overlooked here.
Bullet points after the jump.
- Holy crap, though. Really? How to explain that drop off after the first ... oh, 13 to 15 minutes of the first period? It's completely incomprehensible. The Flyers looked great early on. You can't chalk it up to sitting back after grabbing the lead, either, because there were plenty of shifts after Matt Read's goal where the Flyers generated pressure and scoring chances.
- Maybe it was just the Devils imposing their will? New Jersey played a fine defensive game all the way through, especially when it came to shutting down the Claude Giroux line. After the hot start from the Flyers, they got their forecheck going, they started skating, they dictated the flow. Just as the Flyers are to blame for playing like crap, the Devils are to blame for actually getting their game in gear.
- The Flyers had just two shots on goal in the second, and a total of just six shot attempts in the entire period. That number was one attempt -- a Sean Couturier shot which was blocked by the Devils -- until the 18:32 mark of the period when Claude Giroux hit the goal for the first time in the period.
- Ilya Bryzgalov was brilliant. May it have been his best game as a Flyer? Tough to say, but that entire second period was the Universe show. I really thought for a while that this might be the all-important game he steals for the Flyers in these playoffs, but alas. Not to be.
- Go watch Adam Larsson's goal again -- the first Devils tally. He had ALL THE TIME in the world on it. Why was he able to jump into open space, pick up a little pass from Dainius Zubrus and skate all the way in on goal? Because both Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk got caught cheating up the ice in the offensive direction, that's why. Larsson was Briere's man and he was completely lost here because No. 48 forgot about playing defense. We praise Danny for his postseason production, and we need to call him out when this happens, too.
- David Clarkson's hand might have a mind of its own.
Questions with Answers
- How do the Devils look without Ilya Kovalchuk? Ugh.
- Can the Flyers avoid the slow start? Yep.
- How do the goaltenders perform? Brodeur got some solid nap time in. Bryz was great.
- It's Adam Larsson's first playoff game. How does he look on the Devils blueline, and can the Flyers take advantage? Screw you and this question.
Comment of the Night
Bryz is probably thinking "So this is what it's like to be a Phillies pitcher."